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Circulation on the Run

Jun 26, 2018


Dr Carolyn Lam:                Welcome to Circulation on the Run, your weekly podcast summary and backstage pass to the journal and its editors. I'm Dr. Carolyn Lam, Associate Editor from the National Heart Center, and Duke National University of Singapore. And I am joined today by our Editor of Digital Strategies, Dr. Amit Khera from UT Southwestern, as well as three wonderful fellows in training. Yes, you've guessed it, it's our FIT Podcast and I'm just so thrilled to be here again.

Dr Carolyn Lam:                Amit, any words of introduction before we start?

Dr Amit Khera:                  Thank you Carolyn. I think, for both of us, this is our favorite podcast, or two podcasts, that we do, a year. It reminds us of how bright the future is, with superb cardiology fellows in training around the country, and it really is a testament to how important we find fellows in training, to Circulation, to our mission, and how much we learn from them.

                                                So we're really excited about this group, today, and thank them for participating.

Dr Carolyn Lam:                Absolutely. So, why don't we start, now, with ladies first? Let's hear from Dr. Elizabeth Hill.

Dr Elizabeth Hill:                Thanks for having me today. My name is Beth Hill, and I'm a first year cardiology fellow at Scripps Clinic, in La Jolla, California. I've a particular interest in sports and exercise cardiology, which brings me to the article I picked today about sudden cardiac death and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, hot topics in the field and in general.

                                                And so, today, I'm excited to be discussing the EVIDENCE HCM study, looking at the hypertrophic cardiomyopathy of risk, sudden cardiac death model.

Dr Carolyn Lam:                Nice. So tell us a little bit about what really struck you about the paper and, perhaps, how that may apply to where you practice?

Dr Elizabeth Hill:                What I really liked about the paper is that, when I see patients in clinic with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, prior to having this risk stratification tool, we didn't really have a way to objectively risk stratify our patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and really guide the discussion about who may benefit from an implantable cardiac defibrillator or ICD. And so, I've been using this a little bit with my patients. While it hasn't made it fully into the AHA or ACC guidelines yet, I'm using it as a tool.

Dr Carolyn Lam:                Great. You know, these are seven risk factors, isn't it? I'm always struck by that survival curve that really shows that those with a predicted 6% risk stand out. Is that what you use, as well, to guide your decisions?

Dr Elizabeth Hill:                Yeah. I think, as the authors noted, they picked this somewhat arbitrarily so that they could study their risk model. But I think what they found is that it seemed to fit well with the observed high risk of sudden cardiac death cohort, such that those that were seen and observed, about 9% risk of sudden cardiac death in five years, were in that greater than 6% cohort. So I think that population should receive ICDs, and that is one factor that I used to guide my decision making as well.

Dr Amit Khera:                  Beth, this sort of interest that you've had for a long time, in sports cardiology, I've noted you've done some prior work in EKG screening and other screenings. In terms of this article specifically, as you pointed out, this is a really helpful tool because I still remember back when I was a fellow in training, there was, sort of, this thought that everyone was high risk with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and I think we realized that's not true at all. The overall incidence of sudden death was only 2.4% in this cohort.

                                                The question I have for you, in terms of application, is, as Carolyn pointed out, these are reasonably simple variables, but as we sometimes are now using cardiac MRI and genetics and other more advanced tools, where do you think they fit in, in the current paradigm, since this is a bit of a more simplistic score?

Dr Elizabeth Hill:                The seven risk factors they put into this tool were noted to be independently associated with an increased risk of sudden cardiac death, and those are well known factors, entricular tachycardia, maximum wall thickness. But I really do think that other factors will come into play soon and are part of my discussion, and colleagues' discussions, including the late gadolinium enhancement on MRI, genetic factors, and I really think this may be a place for tools like machine learning. These authors, O'Mahoney and colleagues, they really did, kind of a tour-de-force, going back to the 1970s, but there is still a decent amount of data missing. So maybe we can partner with the machines and help them go back into these records, a little bit more effortlessly, and look at genetics, maybe some wearable device data, and really refine our risk stratification tool moving forward. But that's definitely something I use in risk stratification in some of my intermediate risk patients.

Dr Amit Khera:                  Those are great points. I think your point about machine learning and novel algorithms will definitely take foot in the future.

                                                Maybe a follow-up, again, given your background interest, I think it's a trade-off where we're trying to, of course, avoid sudden death, but you also don't want to overtreat. Especially, when you think about athletes getting ICDs and how that changes, or anyone, for that matter, about maybe telling someone they're at high risk, or giving them an ICD when perhaps they don't need it. I guess that comes to, what's the threshold? Here they use 6%, but that ends up being a bit arbitrary, in terms of what threshold we use. And how do we decide, when we talk to our patients, about what threshold's a right threshold to apply an ICD?

Dr Elizabeth Hill:                Yeah. That's a great question. Like you mentioned, these devices come with inherent risks, such as unnecessary shocks, increased risks for infection, and sometimes there's restrictions with athletic sport, although that's been changing recently.

                                                But, I think that's where the shared decision-making process comes into play, where you put current data on the table with the patients and, perhaps, their families as well, and have a risk-benefit discussion. Perhaps gather a little bit more data about the patient, maybe follow them over time, but I guess I wouldn't jump to put an ICD in, in every patient and, especially, the lower-risk cohort. And what number that is, I'm not quite sure. Here they say maybe less than 4%, but, again, somewhat arbitrary, I think.

Dr Carolyn Lam:                Thanks Beth. I mean, as Amit said, it's just so inspiring to see how the papers are being used in practice. Really loved those perspectives.

                                                Now, from sunny San Diego all the way to snowy New Zealand. We have Dr. Mesfer Alfadhel. And Mesfer, tell us a little bit about yourself, and the paper that you've chosen?

Dr Mesfer Alfadhel:        Thank you very much. I'm thrilled to be part of this podcast. I'm a second-year cardiology fellow-in-training at the Needham Hospital, in Needham City, New Zealand, where it's snowing at the moment. I'm also a clinical lecturer at the University of Otago School of Medicine. I do have great interest in general cardiology, as the rest of my colleagues, but also am passionate about interventional cardiology and structural heart disease.

                                                The paper I've chosen is really quite relevant to everyone in cardiology, and perhaps extends to other colleagues in other health professions impacted by automated external defibrillator use on survival and functional outcomes in shockable observed public cardiac arrest. The aim of the study was to determine the association of bystander automated external defibrillator use, the survival and function of outcomes in shockable observed out of hospital cardiac arrests. The study was from 2011 to 2015 and the Resuscitation Consortium prospectively collected detailed information on all cardiac arrests at nine regional centers, six in the United States and three in Canada.

                                                They also found that among nearly 50,000 out of hospital cardiac arrests, 8% were observed public out of hospital cardiac arrest, of which 61% were shockable. Overall, a remarkable one in five of shockable observed public out of hospital cardiac arrest were bystander shocked. Now the bystander automated external defibrillator observed, shockable observed public out of hospital arrests were associated with increased odds of survival and full or near full functional recovery almost 2.6 and 2.7 odds ratio than when compared to emergency medical service defibrillation. What's also interesting is that the longer the wait for the emergency services, the higher the benefits from a bystander observed shock.

Dr Carolyn Lam:                You know, Mesfer, I appreciate that you chose this one as well. What struck out to me immediately was that more than 60% of out of hospital cardiac arrests were shockable. And when we think about the number of lives that could potentially be saved, therefore, that's quite astounding, isn't it? But can I ask you something? So these are in the US and Canada, how applicable do you think this is to New Zealand?

Dr Mesfer Alfadhel:        We do have a small population, just over four million. The number of cardiac arrests here is around 2,000 out of hospital cardiac arrests. And I think probably half of them in the latest reports were shockable. The emergency response time in the urban areas is around six minutes, which I think is acceptable, but we have about 20% of population living in rural areas. And the emergency response time exceeds 10 minutes almost all the time. I think that probably a group that we need to direct intervention to in New Zealand.

Dr Amit Khera:                  It's really an important article. I should say that June for the American Heart Association is AED and CPR month so great choice to remind us of the value of these and especially, the one thing that was amazing, obviously this is an observational study, but the absolute change, not relative, was about 14% meaningful recovery and so that's quite impressive in terms of the number needed to treat if you will. Maybe an adjunct to Carolyn's question is, when we think about strategies to enhance bystander AED use for strategies, essentially get the AED there faster. As you know if the EMT time was not delayed it wasn't necessarily better for the bystander.

                                                We had a paper in Circ sometime last year looking at drones and then also geocoding and other people in some countries have looked at apps where you essentially can train a group of people and then they can be texted for a sudden cardiac arrest in their area. I'm curious about any creative things, there's always training and AEDs, I think in this place it was public areas in industry, but what do you think are some creative things or things that we need to be doing to help enhance the ability for bystander or early AED use.

Dr Mesfer Alfadhel:        I think this is one area in medicine in general that where technology is really going to advance how we deal with this problem. There's an app that's available, it was launched in the UK a few years ago and it’s become available in New Zealand in the last two weeks called, the Good SAM. SAM stands for smartphone activated medics. And it's become available in New Zealand two weeks ago and I downloaded it and still yet wait for it to be activated. And the way it works is you can activate a medical emergency using the app and it dials the emergency response but what it also does is it activates the nearest three people with CPR training nearest to you and it tells you how far they are from the emergency. Now if you don't have the app and you call 911 or the equivalent, the operator can activate it to the nearby personnel who have that experience. And I think it's going to reduce the time markedly.

                                                Now the other end of the question where some of what strategies could be used I think we had a good report from Denmark where they made changes in 2007 in Denmark and then followed by the rest of the country in 2010 where they made CPR or resuscitation education as compulsory at school but also when getting a driving license they made courses available for free that increased the number of defibrillators available in public places and they shared that information with public. They’ve redone, audited their work, and compared to prior to intervention prior to 2007 and after that and they found an increase number of using the AEDs increased from somewhere around 2% to 15%, which is really encouraging. I think we are following Denmark in that regard probably at slower rate.

Dr Amit Khera:                  Thank you those are excellent insights.

Dr Carolyn Lam:                Amit, don't you see that I just love learning from these fellows during these podcasts. We should do more of these. This is awesome.

Dr Amit Khera:                  I completely agree.

Dr Carolyn Lam:                Thank you Mesfer, enjoy the skiing. But now from snowy New Zealand we're going all the way to Nashville Tennessee. Welcome Dr. Vineet Agrawal. So tell us a bit about yourself and your paper.

Dr Mesfer Alfadhel:        So my name is Vineet Agrawal. I'm a second-year cardiology fellow at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. My background is as a physician scientist and as a general cardiologist. My long-term goals are in understanding mechanisms underlying heart failure with preserved ejection fraction.

                                                With that in mind I was really taken by an article that was recently by Margaret Redfield's group from the Mayo Clinic in Circulation, titled “Global Pulmonary Vascular Remodeling and Pulmonary Hypertension Associated with Heart Failure and Preserved or Reduced Ejection Fraction.” I found this article to be a very interesting, hypothesis-generating article.

                                                In a nutshell what they did was they took an autopsy cohort of patients in the Mayo Registry and those who had heart failure with both preserved and reduced ejection fraction, normal controls, and those who had a primary pulmonary venous occlusive disease, and looked at the lung specimens of these patients. And interestingly what they found was there was a significant amount of pulmonary venous remodeling that had occurred in patients who had both preserved and reduced ejection fraction. This correlated not only with their right heart cath findings, so those who had elevated pulmonary pressures and elevated transpulmonary gradients, but also differed from the primary pulmonary venous occlusive disease in the sense that the histologic appearance of these vessels was quite different.

                                                And while as an autopsy study this is not necessarily an article that would immediately change practice, what I think it does do though is it forces us to think about these conditions in a different context and particularly with an eye towards future therapeutics. Heart failure with preserved EF as a disease, as I'm sure we all know, is sorely missing therapies that could alter the disease progression and potentially even alter mortality in these patients. And this article in my opinion really sheds light on at least anatomically a new location for us to think about as a therapeutic target when we try to better understand this disease and find therapies for these patients.

Dr Carolyn Lam:                Vineet, can I just say you're singing to the choir here. I'm such a fan of this work as well for obvious reasons. But hey, could I ask you, in your clinical practice, do you see a lot of these patients with HFpEF and pulmonary hypertension and wonder how to treat them? And along those lines, how has this paper helped you think about these patients more?

Dr Mesfer Alfadhel:        I would say when I first started residency as a medical student this was not necessarily a condition that was really something that I had learned much about or felt like I had been exposed to; however, as a resident I felt like most of the patients, or at least half of the patients, I was seeing with heart failure had a component of diastolic heart failure or they had a preserved EF but very symptomatic from the standpoint of heart failure. And I struggled to treat them, particularly in some part due to the fact that many of the risk factors that contribute to HFpEF, diabetes, uncontrolled hypertension, obesity, are chronic problems that are difficult to manage as a clinician regardless.

                                                And second because I feel that there just weren't any data to support any treatments that we were pursuing at the time and so we would try and apply what we had learned in other types of heart failure to these patients with limited results. If I could talk about what I think this article may change in terms of my practice today, one thing that we've always thought about in terms of pulmonary vascular remodeling in heart failure is that it's just a passive process that as fluid builds up you back up into the lungs and as the fluid builds up and backs up into the lungs you get remodeling.

                                                I think one thing that this article shows is that it may actually be a bidirectional process, which would suggest that perhaps we may need to reconsider looking at pulmonary-specific therapies in this population. But more importantly I think it does confirm that chronic elevating filling pressures do have an effect and a deleterious effect on the pulmonary vasculature. Particularly when you look at other trials such as the CardioMEMS trial, the CHAMPION trial in which the data pretty convincingly showed that as clinicians we don't do the best job of reducing left-sided filling pressures in our patients with heart failure as much as we think we do. This article really drives home the point to me that I really need to make sure that when I see these patients that I'm doing everything I can to reduce their left-sided filling pressures because the consequences of not doing so can affect the lungs, which can then in turn affect the heart as well.

Dr Carolyn Lam:                Vineet, that's really words of wisdom. Couldn't agree more. And these are the first sort of autopsy, histological evidence that we have, which is so important. I think if I could just add a couple of perspectives too, it makes me think about making sure that I rule out PVOD in these patients sometimes. We now keep thinking about HFpEF we forget that we need to also rule out PVOD and the other thing much as we now think about not just the filling pressures but the remodeling it's good to note that they found it more in the venous than the arterial system, which also comes therefore with a warning message that we can't just extrapolate I suppose all the PAH therapies that we know about. What do you think about that?

Dr Mesfer Alfadhel:        I absolutely agree with that. It's really interesting that all of our therapies from heart failure standpoint and from a PAH standpoint have focused on the myocardium, the neural hormonal cascade, and then the arterials. The pulmonary main artery and arterials. I don't think anyone really understands the biology of pulmonary veins and yet they're actually a pretty significant part of our everyday practice in cardiology. Pulmonary veins are thought to be the source of atrial fibrillation. We look at pulmonary vein inflow when we evaluate patients with echoes. And yet we understand so little about the biology and the mechanisms by which pulmonary veins are affected in both diseased and healthy patients.

                                                I think this article for that reason raises a number of very interesting questions and may potentially change the way we think about these patients.

Dr Carolyn Lam:                I keep learning, Amit, this is awesome. I could go on forever so you better stop me.

Dr Amit Khera:                  I should probably just be a fly on the wall. You must know Carolyn is a HFpEF, HFrEF aficionado and you guys should have a side call for another hour after this. But I do have one, maybe orthogonal question which is, it's interesting because if you look at how insights were made, they're made off areas I would argue at least that we don't, modern environment uses much which is the autopsy and probably to a large degree hemodynamics as much as probably in the old days although that's changing. I'm curious in a fellowship training program your exposure to autopsy and kind of current in-depth hemodynamic-type training, what's your experience?

Dr Mesfer Alfadhel:        Our experience with looking at pathological slides, getting under the microscope, seeing tissue first hand, is somewhat limited in our fellowship training program. I would say in certain subspecialties like our heart failure, advanced heart failure subspecialties we do get a chance to see more myocardial biopsy specimens, but I think increasingly the focus has been on noninvasive methods by which we can assess some of these same things that we used to do, use the microscope for. Invasive hemodynamics I think similarly we get a lot of experience in terms of spending time in the cath lab but I do kind of wonder if we don't have the same in-depth training that we used to have in understanding all the nuances of hemodynamics that used to exist in the past.

                                                Certainly, I think that while that's partially a reflection of the way and the direction in which medicine is heading, there is a little bit that's potentially lost there. That said, while we have the benefit of manuscripts like this that does do in-depth hemodynamics and looks at autopsy samples from a clinical standpoint, if we were to ever try and understand this in a larger population I think we would be required to try and find a way to noninvasively or maybe through potentially invasive hemodynamics better study this in live patients.

Dr Amit Khera:                  Appreciate that answer and I'm just for all of you, this has been outstanding. You all have served as incredible expert discussants. I know Carolyn already said it multiple times but we've learned a ton about each of these articles and great to see how they come alive and are used in practice and how they're applied in your own thinking and specifically as fellows in training with these have meant to you. We thank you all for joining us and it's really been a fantastic experience.

Dr Carolyn Lam:                Amit, I can only echo your thanks and thank you listeners for joining us today. Fellows out there you are so important to us. Please, please apply to join us on the next FIT podcast as you can see it's really fun.

                                                Don't forget to join us again next week.